In a hotly contested election year where the stakes are huge, how will Republicans fight financial reform without appearing to defend Wall Street's interests at the expense of Main Street? The answer is simple: lie. And lie big, as always. Craft a disingenuous campaign to convince voters that regulating big banks--and thus the GOP's rich fatcat pals--will hurt the little guy. Brilliant. Turn financial reform into a populist movement. Convince the Average Joes to get all fired up, march in the streets, and fight against the very reforms that will in fact help them considerably. Turn them, once again, against their own self-interests by lying to them. As Lenin said, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
And where have we seen this before? If you said health care reform, you're right. The Republicans may be the Party of No, and may not have a lick of ideas of their own, but they are very effective liars, highly adept at framing issues to turn public sentiment their way. The recent health care battle is a stunning example of this. How else do you explain all the Tea Bagger rage over legislation that truly protects them and their families?
A perfect illustration of this duplicity is the "death panel" lie, where the "government takeover" of health care, according to the GOP, would result in President Obama getting to decide whether Granny lives or dies. Makes a great soundbyte. Republicans are masterful at creating devastatingly effective talking points.
Which brings us to financial reform and the Senate bill proposed by Democrats. A bill which seeks to place further regulations on Wall Street and aimed at the sort of high-risk trading practices that caused the meltdown of 2008. Here's the lie which we can bet will become the new ad nauseum "death panel" talking point:
"We cannot allow endless taxpayer-funded bailouts," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week. "That’s why we must not pass the financial reform bill that’s about to hit the floor. The fact is this bill wouldn’t solve the problems that led to the financial crisis. It would make them worse."
That's right. Get out there and fight, Mr. and Mrs. Average American. Fight for your Wall Street executives! We need to protect them. We need to make sure they stay rich, fat and happy, because if we attempt to rein in their reckless cowboy investment activities, that'll be bad for you and bad for America! It'll cost you in taxes! No! We must let them do whatever the hell they want, without restriction! No more 'big government' intervention! Power to the people! The Wall Street people! Financial reform, like health care reform, is terrible for you! No more death panels and bailouts! Don't let Democrats hurt you. We Republicans are looking out for you. Have your best interests at heart. And by helping us protect the insurance industry, the big banks and corporate America...we're really protecting you. God bless America!
A note of interest: McConnell himself supported President Bush's emergency $700-billion Wall Street bailout back in the Fall of 2008. Oh, how quickly those pesky little Republicans forget...